Elected officials from the cities of Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach and the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District gathered Oct. 15 to sign a joint fire services cooperative agreement.
The officials expect to see long-term financial benefits, an improvement in efficiency and reduction in redundancy from the agreement. They also hope to develop consistent policies and procedures leading to greater interoperability.
"I'm extremely proud of how Del Mar and Solana Beach have worked together for several years and have improved services and saved money for both communities," said.
Del Mar Deputy Mayor Richard Earnest on behalf of Mayor Crystal Crawford. "This collaboration, which now includes Encinitas and the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, took several years to develop, but it's a great example of what can be accomplished when we keep talking, keep working, and never give up on creating the right solution for our communities."
Through the two-year agreement, which went into effect Thursday, Oct. 15, Encinitas will provide operational oversight for Del Mar's emergency services including day-to-day management of fire department operations, training, support services and fire prevention support.
Solana Beach has permanent staff overseeing day-to-day operations. Encinitas would provide Solana Beach with management of training and support services.
Rancho Santa Fe will provide battalion chief coverage for Encinitas, Del Mar and Solana Beach.
"This is a very significant event for all of our communities and fire agencies. Our Fire District has embraced other types of cooperative efforts over the years," said Jim Ashcroft, RSFPD board president. Ashcroft said this agreement has been in the works for three years. "This is a win-win for all of our communities," he said.
"The idea for this agreement has technically been in the works since November 12, 1969, when the four organizations began sharing ambulance services through the County Service Area No. 17 (CSA-17) – San Dieguito Emergency Services District," said Encinitas Mayor Maggie Houlihan. "That original cooperation enabled the agencies to adopt common policies dealing with emergency medical situations."
"Local agencies need to be forward thinking in order to provide the quality service the public deserves at a reasonable cost and I think this agreement is an excellent example of forward thinking," said Solana Beach Mayor Mike Nichols.